Over $1billion needed to triple cycling path network to 1,300km
Move will create more space for e-scooter users after footpath ban, which has reduced accidents
Over $1 billion will be needed to triple the 440km of cycling paths here as the Government looks to speed up the expansion of the cycling network.
Revealing this in Parliament yesterday, Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min said his ministry is in talks with the Finance Ministry to secure the extra funding.
More details will be given during the debate on the new Transport Ministry (MOT) budget after the Budget statement that will take place on Feb 18.
MOT is also in talks with the Housing Board, National Parks Board and town councils on a practical timeline, Dr Lam said.
This comes in the wake of a ban on e-scooters from footpaths from Nov 5 last year.
Dr Lam had earlier announced plans to expand the cycling network to 750km by 2025 and about 1,300km by 2030.
But he told reporters last month this could be brought forward by a couple of years to give e-scooter riders more space.
E-scooters, which are also banned on roads, are now restricted to the 440km of cycling paths, instead of the 5,500km of footpaths previously available.
Other motorised personal mobility devices (PMDs) like hoverboards and unicycles could also be confined to cycling paths if a Bill introduced yesterday is passed into law next month.
In a written reply, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said the Land Transport Authority (LTA) will prioritise towns with high e-scooter populations and without existing intra-town cycling networks when building the new cycling paths.
Dr Lam reiterated to MPs yesterday that the e-scooter ban was to restore footpath safety.
After the ban, the number of accidents involving e-scooters on public paths fell by 30 per cent in December, compared to the previous month.
In those two months, more than 6,000 warnings were issued to riders caught on footpaths and over 300 summonses were given to reckless riders.
Since adopting a zero-tolerance approach at the start of the year, LTA has caught 27 riders on footpaths.
"As we step up enforcement, we can expect further reduction in such accidents," Dr Lam said.
To avoid confusion, there are improved markings on footpaths to clearly distinguish them from cycling paths, with "No PMD" signs at selected intersections, he added.
In a written reply, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said a large part of the park connector network (PCN) will be sub-divided into footpaths and shared paths.
About 30km have been marked out so far, with the rest expected to be completed by this year.
NParks will also update and harmonise the markings and signs on the PCN with those of LTA's cycling path network.
"Where there is sufficient width in the PCN, NParks will also implement physical separators such as grass verges between the footpaths and shared paths," Mr Wong said.
To further strengthen the regulatory regime, Dr Lam introduced two new Bills during yesterday's sitting.
The Active Mobility (Amendment) Bill seeks to ban all motorised PMDs from footpaths and enhance penalties for active mobility offences.
For example, those caught riding non-compliant devices under the draft law will face double the current penalty.
The Bill will also allow the Government to implement the latest Active Mobility Advisory Panel recommendations, including minimum ages for riding, mandatory theory tests and third-party liability insurance for those who ride for work.
The Bill will also put in place the mandatory inspection regime, which will kick in from April, to help ensure e-scooters comply with the UL2272 fire safety standard and weed out illegal modifications.
The Shared Mobility Enterprises (Control and Licensing) Bill will expand the scope of the current licensing regime for active mobility device-sharing operators, including bicycle-sharing and PMD-sharing firms.
If passed, it will replace the existing licensing regime under the Parking Places Act, MOT said in a statement yesterday.
Three licensed bike-sharing companies are operating 45,000 shared bicycles here.
All PMD-sharing licence applications were rejected after the e-scooter footpath ban was announced last November.
At one point, 14 companies were vying for the PMD-sharing licences, which were delayed twice over safety concerns.